Ideas from 'Natural Minds' by Thomas W. Polger [2004], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Natural Minds' by Polger,Thomas W. [MIT 2004,0-262016221-0]].

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas


12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
The taste of chocolate is a 'finer-grained' sensation than the taste of sweetness
                        Full Idea: The taste of chocolate is presumably a 'finer-grained' sensation than the taste of sweetness.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], Ch.1.4)
                        A reaction: An interesting distinction when it comes to what they are like, and whether two very different brains can realise them. Sweetness might be the same for most creatures, but the tast of chocolate subtly different.
16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 1. Self and Consciousness
The mind and the self are one, and the mind-self is a biological phenomenon
                        Full Idea: We should return to the old idea that the mind and the self are one and combine it with the new idea that the mind-self is a biological phenomenon.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], 8.3)
                        A reaction: This doesn't make allowance for the fact that some parts of my mind seem like irritating visitors, and other parts seem like the home-owner. Personally I take the self to be the brain's central controller, or the centre (forum) of brain integration.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 5. Teleological Functionalism
Teleological functions explain why a trait exists; causal-role functions say what it does
                        Full Idea: Teleological functions help explain why a trait has come to exist; causal-role functions tell what a trait does or is apt to do.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], 5.4)
                        A reaction: The teleological view has the merit of nesting nicely with the theory of evolution, and with Aristotelian virtue ethics (which I like). Causal-role functionalism focuses better on what is actually happening inside the head.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 1. Physical Mind
Identity theory says consciousness is an abstraction: a state, event, process or property
                        Full Idea: Identity theories locate consciousness at a certain order of abstraction, typically among neurophysiological states, events, processes, or properties.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], Ch.7.6)
                        A reaction: I increasingly think that processes are the answer. My new analogy for the mind is a waterfall: its physical ontology is simple, it only exists because there is a sustained process, and it is far too complex to predict individual droplet outcomes.
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 3. Natural Function
A mummified heart has the teleological function of circulating blood
                        Full Idea: A preserved heart in a jar of formaldehyde has the teleological function of circulating blood.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], 5.4)
                        A reaction: A nice illustration.
Teleological notions of function say what a thing is supposed to do
                        Full Idea: Teleological notions of function specify not just what a thing happens to do, but what it is supposed to do.
                        From: Thomas W. Polger (Natural Minds [2004], Ch.5.3)
                        A reaction: This is the basis of a distinct theory of the mind. It seems to be akin to the 'dispositions' of behaviourism, so that the mind becomes once more a theoretical and abstract entity, rather than a thing of occurrent events and processes.